Samsung Laser for $200: Now That's Low

SAN FRANCISCO (09/11/2000) - Laser printers are getting cheaper. Samsung America Inc.'s new ML-4500 is the first one to sell for under $200. Of course, you know what "under $200" really means--an estimated street price of $199. The 4500 ships this week.

Judging by the numbers, the 4500 is a pretty good home laser printer. It shoots out text at a reasonable 8 pages a minute. It's resolution is the standard 600 dots per inch, although, according to Samsung, the image quality is better than most 600-dpi lasers thanks to special "micro toner" made up of smaller particles. And it's all packed into a 13-by-13.9-by-9-inch, 13.7-pound box.

Is that box well-built? Samsung says yes and promises that no corners were cut to keep the price down. Of course, no one could reasonably expect a $200, 14-pound printer to be built like a tank. The ML-4500 comes with the same one-year warranty as more expensive Samsung printers.

Jam Reduction

How well does the ML-4500 work? Samsung touts the printer's "paper jam free technology," which will reduce but not entirely eliminate jams. Basically this means that the printer has a straight paper path--a good design but hardly a revolutionary one.

The ML-4500 is, according to Samsung, an easy printer to use. Push one button on the printer's front panel, and you can reprint the last page--without consulting your PC. Press another button to cancel a print job. You can also print an index sheet with 16 thumbnail views of other pages. It comes with an extra sheet feeder for envelopes, labels, card stock, or transparencies.

With the ML-4500, the initial price of a laser printer is becoming less and less of an issue. You no longer have to choose between the great color of an ink jet and the speed and low consumables cost of a laser. You can afford to have them both.

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